Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taking the Bite Out of COBRA

I received word today that I am eligible for the stimulus package's COBRA subsidy-thingy.  Hooray!  That means that my $480.62 monthly payment dwindles to a mere $160-something.  BUT since I've already mailed my March and April payments (and the subsidy-thingy retroactively goes back to March), I'm pretty much covered on Insurance until August.  Hooray!  That's $480.62 I'll have to save in May, June, and July!

Look out, money-market savings account, you're about to get a huge influx of dough!

In other news, I applied to a job designing - urk - luxury houses.  The ones I saw on the company's website were pretty decent, truth to tell, even if I'm not a fan of traditional architecture for me PERSONALLY.  I think, though, that as with religion, everyone has their own tastes, and some might be God-awful (ba-dum-dum, get it?  Punny?) but people have a right to their own styles.  Unless it causes me physical or mental harm.  I don't know whether I'll get the job, yet.  I intend to call tomorrow to make sure they received my curriculum vitae, etc...

Part of me worries, because I don't have a whole heck of a lot of experience designing single family homes, or designing in a traditional style, but I CAN do it, I did it as a hobby back before I went to architecture school and discovered the wonderful world of modern architecture and museum design and all that fancy expensive stuff.  So I don't have a portfolio that includes a lot of traditional architecture, although I do have sketches I did of traditional mixed-use development I helped design, but they're not enough.

I doubt my experience designing luxury condos will be seen as easily translatable into the single-family market, but you've got to jump from the nest before you know if you can fly, right?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

HH Double-Header

Happy hour was a nomadic affair, Friday evening.  The official Happy Hour Coordinator, PK, decided that we should all go to Frankie's so those fellas who were so inclined could watch basketball.  College basketball, to be exact.

Frankie's is a sports bar, and that about sums it up, really.  Lots of televisions mounted near the ceiling, lots of guys in identical shirts jumping out of their chairs and screaming in unison.  The temptation to compare it to synchronized swimming is tempting, but I think I'll let that alone.  Might get beat up for insinuating that those armchair-point-guards (in their identical embroidered button-down shirts) were anything but macho.  As one of my fellow (female) HH-goers commented, "I know it's Uptown, but there are a lot of d-bags here."

I didn't eat at Frankie's, having already eaten at a mediocre catfish joint (If you're a catfish joint in Texas, you'd better have good catfish.  They didn't.)  But I did once eat there, and I remember the food being okay.

I know I'll go back to Frankie's from time to time, if only to watch sports.  It's exactly like any other sports bar, though.  Nothing special.  Its location is the only thing that recommends it.  Why?  Because, after the game is over and you've grown tired of the terrible almost-pints of Guinness, you can head over to...

 The Quarter Bar at Breadwinner's.

The 1/4 bar also has its share of, ahem, cheesey fellows.  But it has something else to recommend it: character.  It's in an older building and is two stories.  On the first floor, there are velvet upholstered slipper chairs scattered around the warren of rooms for your seating pleasure, or you can stand in the middle of the room and keep people from accessing the bar.  I'm not sure which I prefer, personally, because I always go upstairs.

The second floor tends to be less crowded, although there are fewer steam-punk chairs in which to loll.  The wood floors are delightfully off-kilter, so ladies in heels, watch your step.  Or just fall strategically to the side and grab onto one of the handsome fellows (in an embroidered shirt, natch) that is probably occupying the patch of floor adjacent to you.

The Guinness at the 1/4 Bar isn't draught on the second floor.  In fact, it's out of a can, but it's still better than the bitter swill Frankie's tries to pawn off as that oh-so-blessed of quaffs.  The second floor also closes about 30 minutes before the ground floor, so be prepared for bartenders to start herding you towards the door at 1:30.  They will initially be quite genial about the whole thing, but by the second or third round of "finish up, it's time to go," their encouragement to leave has reached more of a "chug it and go the f*** home!" attitude ( and yes, that is a direct quote).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Eleanor of Aquitaine" by Alison Weir

If one were to peruse my bookshelves - 

Okay, no, not speaking in the second person, it's annoying.

If you looked at my bookshelves, you'd see a whole lot of biographies.  About women.  Who attained great heights of power.  Most of them wore big poofy dresses.

I have kind of an addiction to biographies about female royalty, or the mistresses of monarchs.  And so, because it was one of the few biographies at Barnes and Nobles which I had not read, I bought "Eleanor of Aquitaine."  I was vaguely familiar with her from world history in high school and from watching "The Lion in Winter," also in high school (Katherine Hepburn did a stellar job), but I really didn't know much about her.  Until just recently, that is.

Although the book was enlightening, there wasn't actually that much information about Eleanor herself.  It was more a biography of Henry II and Richard the Lionheart by way of Eleanor of Aquitaine.  That said, it was still an impressive read, and much enjoyed.

Eleanor was definitely what my dad would call a "go getter:" unhappy in her marriage to the French king, she had it annulled on grounds of consanguinity (in other words: kissing cousins) and married herself to Henry II, who was by all accounts much better looking and a more manly and effective ruler than his French counterpart.  She also happened to be related to him by the same degree that she was related to her French ex, but that was beside the point: the woman was determined to get what she wanted.  

SHE HELPED HER SONS DECLARE WAR ON HER HUSBAND.  That takes some guts, you've gotta admit.

I'm not 100% sure of why I enjoy reading biographies of powerful women so much.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that they used the only thing they were valued for (their looks, essentially) to attain and keep political power in a male dominated world.  They fascinate me, though, and Eleanor of Aquitaine was no exception.  If you're into the whole female domination thing...

One of the things I appreciate about Ms. Weir's writing (I have read multiple books, but I get her confused with Antonia Fraser, so I won't name the others) is that they are so well researched and documented.  No fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants biographer is she.  I've fallen victim to many biographies in which the authoress (typically, sadly enough) fails to include a comprehensive list of works cited, let alone add in footnotes or endnotes.  It's refreshing to know that a work of nonfiction has been properly researched.  And Ms. Weir's style of writing is definitely engaging.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grad School Applications

First, I would like to thank Lehman Brothers for making it much harder to get into grad school this year.

Why is it harder to get into grad school?  Because there is a recession, so many many architects are out of work, and all those that are unemployed seem to be applying to grad school.

Why is it Lehman Brothers' fault?  Because I arbitrarily assign all blame to anything recession related to them.

I received a rejection notice (not telling from where) and a "you're on our wait list!" notice.  Thanks, guys.  The wait list notice came from my "safe school."  All four of my schools were in the top 15 M. Arch programs for the past 6 years (none of those "here today gone tomorrow" top 15s for me).  I knew they'd be competitive, but... I didn't plan on a recession interfering with my plans for schooling by adding a glut of applicants who otherwise would have been happy to remain ensconced in their cubicles, churning out apartment buildings, overpriced condos, and offices.

So now, I'm trying to develop a Plan B.  I could always apply for admission to the school from which I obtained my undergrad architecture degree.  BUT I DON'T WANT TO.  I know a lot of the people in the program, and those I know tend to by stuck in the undergrad binge-drinking days of no responsibility.

I'm tired of that.

I have so many acquaintances that miss school SO MUCH.  And I don't.  At all.  I miss sitting in my desk at the office, going to meetings, reprimanding male clients for making ribald jokes in my presence, and the excuse to wear 4-inch heels every day and cram my closet full of pencil skirts.  I miss Lunch N Learns and free breakfast tacos from the printer's rep.  I miss Friday lunches.

I don't miss college parties.  I don't miss staying up all night working on projects.  I don't miss sarcastic professors who get their jollies by belittling their hard-working students.

So now it's time to rethink my strategy.  What will I do for the next year?  The application deadlines have passed for the other schools to which I would consider applying.  Lots of soul searching, right now...

Pain! Agony! Yoga!

I decided that I needed to get into shape, rather than just sitting around at the house all day.  For the two years I worked for "the firm formerly known as Megan's Employer," I didn't do much exercise, unless trotting back and forth from the printer to my desk in high-heels counts.  I talked vaguely while employed about taking up yoga, again.  I took it for a semester in college and loved it.  
I recently joined the YMCA with the sole intention of taking yoga classes there.  It's cheaper to join the YMCA and take the classes they include with their membership than it is to take yoga at a "yoga center."  Besides, most yoga centers teach only the heated/humidified yoga, which according to my doctor is unhealthy.  Yesterday was the first day I attended yoga class.

I can hardly move.

My yoga class in college was so much easier!  I felt like a total moron during the class.  I was the youngest person there, the thinnest person there... and the least capable person there.  The 70 year old woman sitting next to me was better than I was!  Of course, she's been doing it for years, but...  It definitely increased my resolve to get into shape.  It was a blow to my ego, definitely, but now I'm determined to get better at it.  And since I'm unemployed, I have the time.  Who says being too competitive is a bad thing?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ah, Fredericksburg

My mom had Spring Break this past week, and she asked me if I would like "to go on vacation" with her.  After laughing because, at present, I am on one heckuva extended vacation, I agreed and asked her to where she would like to go.  She requested Fredericksburg, TX.  I instantly agreed, visions of biergartens dancing in my head.

I was not disappointed.

We arrived in Fredericksburg on Wednesday and drove around a bit.  It took us longer to get to F-burg than we'd originally thought because we opted to take "the scenic route."  No, not "the scenic route" as in "we got lost and had to find our way to where we were supposed to be" but "the scenic route" as in "maybe there will be wildflowers and lots of baby cows!"  There were, indeed, lots of baby cows (calves, I know, but I like "baby cows" more) but nary a bluebonnet in sight.

Wednesday evening, I had a hankering for some German food, so we went to Silver Creek Beer Garden, where I chowed down on the German Wurst plate with 3 kinds of wurst, pickled cabbage, some delicious mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut.  Not a huge fan of sauerkraut, but the cabbage was awesome.

And the beer.    Spaten Premium for starters, and then on to Great Divide's Yeti Imperial Stout.  All 22 oz. in the bottle of GD's Yeti Stout.  It was good, but had a bit of a rough edge to it, perhaps because it was 9.5% ABV.  Yep, that'll do it.  And since we're rating things, how was the service at the beer garden?  Terrible, for the most part.  Our waiter was far too important to bring me my Yeti Stout (we waited about 15 minutes before he even acknowledged our existence when we first seated ourselves).  Fortunately, a much more attractive and competent young man came to my rescue by taking my order, delivering my stout, and engaging in some light banter.  He got a bigger tip than our "real waiter," suffice it to say.

NOTE TO WAITERS: knowing how to flirt with a girl without going overboard and bringing her order in a timely manner will garner BIG tips.  Having a cuter waiter save a girl from beerlessness will ensure your tip shrinks exponentially, even if her mom's the one dishing out the dough.

If your taste runs more towards haute cuisine, I suggest the Navajo Grill, if you can get over the fact that there were no Navajo Indians in that part of Texas, which I just barely managed to do.  I'm glad I did, as my steak was excellent, the dessert was fantastic - for once!  A creme brulee that isn't too egg-y! - and the salad served pre-entree was superb.  Bacon and sunflower seeds on top of my salad?  Heaven!  Utter heaven!  Granted, the Navajo Grill isn't exactly cheap, but it's well worth the price.  And they have a fairly broad selection of wines, for you oenophiles.

AND you must stop by Rather Sweet, if you're in the mood for something, er, sweet.  Excellent muffins, danish, cookies, and cakes!  We ate there three times!  Eek!  Also, excellent sandwiches served on some of the best bread I've ever eaten.

Incidentally, you'd be surprised how many "beer and cake" photos you'll find on Google...  In the end, I decided to go with the classier "bluebonnets and brahmas."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

I just finished reading two books by Neil Gaiman.  The first one was "The Graveyard Book."  I finished it and literally jetted to B&N to buy the other one mentioned in the overleaf and much lauded these days by the media.  (Also picked up a copy of Persepolis and a biog. of George IV's wife, but that's for another day).

The second one was "Coraline."  Coraline scared the ever-loving bejeezus out of me, to be quite frank.  I wanted to go see the animated movie version of it, up until I read it.  And then, I decided that there was no way I could sit through an hour+ of that terror.  It was a wonderful book about a girl with a ton of courage.  More courage than I have.  It scared me.

"The Graveyard Book" was absolutely wonderful.  I read it in one day, lying on the sofa at my parents' house.  It was incredibly inspiring, and had wonderful morals about triumph in adversity, the inherent goodness of most people, the inability of some people to deal with trauma, and the fact that we all have to grow up sometime.  I think some of my ex-boyfriends could greatly benefit by reading the book.

TGYB was incredibly descriptive, and some of the most innovative characters I've encountered in a long while, even though the story is influenced by/based on Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book."  If you aren't aware of the fact up front, you will be by the time you finish it (and once you read Gaiman's acknowledgements, in which he - ahem - acknowledges his debt to Mr. Kipling).

The main character, Nobody Owens, is raised in a graveyard by a combination of ghosts, vampires, and weredogs, and, amazingly enough, turns out okay.  The vampire character - who is never explicitly called a vampire - is probably the most likable yet emotionally distant character ever.  But then, most authors strive for their characters to be approachable, even if in an "I hate you, Mr. Character" way, so the fact that there aren't many emotionally distant characters endeared to the hearts of readers probably shouldn't be too surprising.

The other characters are believable, in a fantasy-fiction-about-dead-people-raising-a-child kind of way.  Meaning, I suppose, that their motives and emotions seem genuine.  The fifteen year old girl can't handle the fact that she's been involved in a battle for the good of mankind?  Believable.
  The young boy gets angry because he's been in trouble and "nobody likes me everybody hates me guess I'll go eat worms?"  Believable.

The illustrations are incredible, too.  McKean (the illustrator) did a bang up job of adding just the right number of pictures with the right amount of abstraction to give them a jarring feeling.

Added bonus: Mr. Gaiman can hold his own in a battle of wits against Stephen Colbert.  http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/17/neil-gaiman-on-colbe.html

Two-Fer Tuesday! (wee bit late... again...)

So being unemployed isn't ALL bad.  Sure, I've had to move back in with my parents, 1/3 of my unemployment checks go towards ridiculously expensive health insurance (thank God I have it, though!), and I no longer have disposable income, so I'm constantly having the following dialogue with myself (sometimes aloud for fellow shoppers' amusement):

Do I really need that shirt?   No.
Do I really need that album? No.
Do I really need new underwear? Yes, but I need new eyeglasses first.
Do I really need that beer? Yes.  Always.  (unless it's a wheat beer)

But there are some awesome things.  Today was a beautiful day, and one of my (also unemployed architect) friends and I decided to go to Fort Worth to the Modern Art Museum and to the Kimbell Art Museum.

And it was awesome.

We had a ton of fun, and all it cost was one water and onesoda enroute, lunch, admission to one museum (student price), the cost of gas, and a soda for each on the way back.  I get thirsty, ok?  It was probably one of the most relaxing days I've had in a very long time.  My mom probably wishes I'd shut up about it, already!

I know lots of random facts about various artists and architects, so I had a good chance to prattle endlessly about witty anecdotes in my repertoire, and he got to see the Kimbell, by the late Louis Kahn, which he'd never visited or studied in depth.  And he also had some awesome remarks to make about the abstract expressionist paintings ("I think the subject of that one is the NBC peacock getting plowed by a truck."  Morris Louis, please stop spinning in your grave and forgive him!)

And it was a beautiful day.  One of the prettiest we've had in a really long time here in Dallas.  So instead of sitting in my cubicle lamenting the lack of laptops and wifi in downtown Dallas, I got to sit on a bench, listen to the sound of fountains and children laughing, and breathe.

Monday, March 16, 2009

No Tales of Happy Hour Glory :(

Due to the occurrence of the Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, the weekly happy hour was cancelled.  Shocking?  Not if you live in Dallas.  Bars all over town tend to be deserted the eve of the parade, because veterans and those with an ounce of common sense know that they should rest up the night before for the all-day beer-fest that is the Greenville St. Patrick's Day Parade.

I did not attend the parade, however.  The Happy Hour crew went, for the most part, but I was under the mistaken impression that I would be out of town this past weekend.  I got my weekends confused.  As things stand, it's probably for the best that I didn't attend.  It would have violated my (somewhat) strictly observed One Night Per Week drinking allowance, spent the evening before at a Housewarming Par-tay.

I attended the St. Patty's Parade for the first time last year .  When in college, I generally had some sadistic professor issue tons of homework or a massive deadline that interfered with my ability to attend the parade and to have the requisite day of R&R afterwards.  After I graduated, I went, because weekends were no longer occupied by professors.  Do you know what I discovered at the parade?

1. YOU CAN'T GET A DECENT PINT OF BEER.  If you want a drink, you may have a Budweiser, or a Miller Lite, but God help you if you want a pint o'Guinness.  Nothing doing.  At least not where I was at the block party.  If you want to try to cram yourself into the mass of humanity that the Tipperary becomes, you might be able to get a good beer, but probably not.

2. CELL PHONES DO NOT WORK because there are so many people trying to use them that the cell towers in the vicinity get overloaded.  Dropped/failed calls galore.

3. BRING EARPLUGS because you will be surrounded by SMU sorority girls whose first reaction to seeing an acquaintance will be to shriek at the top of their lungs, as if it's the biggest coincidence in the world that they're all at the same place.

4. TAKE A GUY IN A RED SHIRT.  A BIG GUY.  At first, we all teased the fella in our group who made the (seemingly) unlucky gaffe of wearing a red shirt.  After all, he stuck out like a sore thumb.  Which turned out to be awesome when we wanted to leave and kept getting separated in the mass of identically clad party-goers.  So it's helpful to have a 6'4  bright red beacon to follow.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain

I have watched "No Reservations" a handful of times at my sister's house.  I am convinced that he would be an excellent addition to any Happy Hour gathering.  Reading "Kitchen Confidential" only served to reinforce that belief.

One of my friends told me about the book and so, despite my only having watched a handful of episodes, I anted up $14.95 of my Texas Workforce Commission "income" in order to read about how, exactly, he became a chef.

"No Reservations" takes the reader on a tour of kitchens Mr. Bourdain has graced with his alcohol swilling, pot smoking presence.  And, oh my God, it's entertaining.  I read the re-release, which included a little bit at the end about getting in touch with people he wrote about and having them set the record straight.  It was hilarious, mostly because anyone who's ever written an autobiographical story of any kind or length invariably has someone tell them, "Wait, that's not what happened.  You're exaggerating."

The characters in his book come alive, in all their curse-spewing, coke sniffing glory.  If you've ever known anyone who worked in food service, you've met one of the characters in his book.

One of my favorite parts was reading about his antagonistic relationship with one of his instructors at the Culinary Institute.  It reminded me of one of my professors, his abusiveness, and how he realized he couldn't make me upset with his streams of filth because, quite frankly, I didn't give a d*** anymore.  The anecdotes, as well as the self-deprecating humor, make it a worthy read, and also give some insight into how the business is changing in many ways, but is the same in just as many others.

It also made me thank my lucky stars I never worked in food service.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday/Wednesday Blog in Smaller Eco-Friendly Package

I forgot to blog Tuesday.  So sioux me.

I'm waiting for responses from Grad Schools.  I was in the middle of applying to Master of Architecture programs (M.Arch) when I got punched in the gut with a bag full of "laid off."  The timing was actually pretty fortuitous, because I was working 8-12 hours per day, then going home and spending another 6-8 hours working on my portfolio/applications/essays.  All of a sudden, I had time to work on my applications.

When applying to grad school, there was a ton of "ohmigodohmigodohmigod imnotgonnafinish!"  It was stressful, and a huge load was lifted from my shoulders when the last application was mailed just before Feb. 1.

I have now entered a whole new universe of anxiety, though, and that is the anxiety that attends WAITING for RESPONSES.  All of a sudden, it's like middle school again, trying to get into a new group of friends because you're tired of the boys throwing food at you during lunch, and you're worried about whether you're cool enough for the new group of friends, if they'll make fun of you behind your back, and all that.

Not that I have any experience with middle school social-climbing.

It is kind of a new experience for me, though.  I wasn't worried about "not getting in" when I applied to undergraduate school at UT-Arlington because there wasn't a shot in hell they were going to deny me entrance.  I didn't worry about starting internships and not fitting in because, as a summer intern, you're not expected to fit in, and I had some "big shot" acquaintances who insured I'd get internships.  I had firms competing for me when I graduated from college.

I've had a pretty easy career, free of rejection.  Even getting laid off was "nothing personal."  I made it through the first round of fat trimming, after all (before they started cutting off fingers and toes).

So this new fear of rejection, of not getting to go where I REALLY want to go, has me a little nervous.  Okay, a lot of nervous.  Occaisionally keeping me up at night, nervous.

Thank God for Tylenol PM + Benadryl.

Monday, March 9, 2009

State and Allen

Friday's Happy Hour was at State and Allen Lounge.  Maybe it was because of the seating arrangement (RIGHT in the path of travel for everyone) or the fact that my allergies were bothering me, but...  Ok.  I'm picky about bars.  Perhaps if I'd sampled their food (which is hopefully better than their Guinness) I would have been more impressed, but as things stand, it doesn't merit a spot on my list of "favorite bars."  Sorry, PK.

One thing I did find amusing at S&A Lounge was that all the guys, with the exception of those at our table, seemed to be dressed exactly alike.  All were in white shirts with blue stripes, jeans, and flipflops, with one or two exceptions.  On the upside, patrons are welcome to bring their dogs, so long as they obey the "Rules for Parents" posted on a chalkboard.  It was fun to see all the people out with their aminals (misspelling intentional, ya'll), particularly the weimaraner puppy.

Me: You tackle the girl, and I'll grab the puppy and run.
Kathy: Deal.  One, two, three, go!

I also must confess that I was only there for 1.5 hours, and as everyone knows, bars typically get better the longer you're there (and the more alcohol you consume), so my sobriety might have also clouded my judgment.  Regardless, I'll probably go back to State and Allen once more, if only because two of my friends live right nearby and it could be a good meeting place.  And I am curious to try one of those hamburgers...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Harry Potter and the Amusing Book

As you may well have noticed, my library encompasses a vast sea of books culled from varied genres.  From gruesome nonfiction histories to illustrated children's bedtime stories.  And now, we have a combo for you.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

The stories in themselves (The Warlock's Hairy Heart, The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, etc.) are amusing and contain excellent lessons for the little tykes as regards general kindness to those around you, how unselfishness is a virtue (Ayn Rand is spinning in her grave), and that you should avoid wizards who are in a bad mood.  A couple of them are gory - The Warlock's Hairy Heart, in particular - but overall, I'd say they're all appropriate for children about 10 and up.  Some of the less graphic stories (Babbity Rabbity and The Fountain of Fair Fortune) are suitable for all ages.  They're a pretty swift read, too: I read them all in one sitting before bed, and, no, it wasn't a 6 hour marathon sitting.  Two or three before bed would be adequate for a pre-bedtime read-aloud session, if that's an issue for the parental types.

As usual, Rowling's descriptive powers are in full force, but the stories still retain the character found in most fairy tales, like those of the brothers Grimm.  They have a quality of being handed down, and in the process, seem to have lost superfluous descriptors that clutter newer children's stories.

My favorite part of the volume, though, was the scholarly commentary following each story.  Purportedly the work of Albus Dumbledore, the previously unpublished commentaries could help parents provide talking points about the stories, although I doubt most 10 year-olds would find the notes themselves interesting.

Dumbledore addresses the Muggle/Wizard history and trends at the time the story was first recorded, moral and ethical views espoused by the story and their various interpretations, and alternate versions of the story.  All, of course, in Dumbledore's good-naturedly scathing way (he makes mince-meat of Muggle-haters).

Added bonus: book proceeds benefit the Children's High Level Group, a European charitable institution that helps place children from large orphanages into smaller group homes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All's Fair in - um - Job Hunting

Thursday is a big American Institute of Architects Job Fair here in Dallas (that's AIA, for those in the know).  I have a short list of fair participants.  I'm scared.  Wednesday will be spent prepping for the Job Fair (in what do the attendees specialize?  For what positions are they hiring?  Would working for them require me to change my name/address/SS# out of shame?).

Also, I've joined this nifty little networking group (yes, I joined Career Connections, Bible lesson and all, but there's another one that, coincidentally or not, wants to become a part of CConn).  One of my friends is also in it.  Everyone was assigned a "buddy" to call and check-on/lend-support-to once or twice a week.  I was assigned to a blissfully good-looking young man.  I attempted to call him, as per my duties as his "buddy."  The feller didn't answer.

The thing is - apart from my wanting to "lend support in this time of need" - I actually have a pretty good job connection for him.  I know one of the firms at the job fair, although I can't -  because of past misbehavior by an associate of theirs - apply to work there.  I CAN however, introduce him to the HR director, who luvs meh.

So now, I have to decide whether or not to appear to stalk him in order to give him this information.  Hmmm... What's a girl to do?

The Public Loves Me

A photographer and journalist from the Dallas Morning News came to my (parents') house on Sunday for about an hour-and-a-half.  The photographer snapped some pics of my family doing what it does best: reading and scratching the dog.  My dog, of course, was WAY too interested in the photographer, who was down on the floor to take some pics.  Apparently, owning cats, the photog didn't realize that floor-sitting means you're in prime dog-scratching position.

The conversation with the journalist got a wee bit side-tracked while talking about why I'd moved back in.  We ventured into the territory of why I have to keep COBRA insurance, and how that meant I had to move back in with the folks.  Of course, being a journalist, she kept taking notes, and said multiple times that she now has multiple stories running through her head.  Neat.

Apparently, I won't be the only unemployed parent-dweller-with-er featured in the DMN.  An older couple (about my parents' age) will also be featured since they moved back in with their 80-something mother/m-in-law.  And there will be a brother/sister act featured, most likely.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gimme Some Elbow Room!

<= Rasputin: Creepy Guy's Ancestor?

Friday's Happy Hour was at the Elbow Room on Gaston.  I like the Elbow Room.  It has a nice low-key vibe, and there's a good mix of hipsters ("I know that guy!  How do I know that guy?  The one with the tiny mustache and fedora?  Howdoiknowhimdoyouknowhimiknowhim!") and unhipsters (such as myself).  After 11 pm, there are also ridiculously good-looking guys playing...that game... with sand on the table... and little round things you send zinging across...but not too far across...the table...

I was about to fall into a rant about their Guinness tasting funny, but I just remembered I had eaten a peppermint before we showed up, so that might have something to do with why the first pint'o tasted a bit like Robitussin, but the ones following were A-OK.

I have decided that I love the Elbow Room.  Why?  Because the waitresses look out for you.  And so does the manager.  And the doorman.  Towards the end of the night, myself and my friends Kathy* and Frankie* and I were sitting at a table with Creepy Guy.  Creepy Guy is, in a word, creepy.  He looks like an oily werewolf.  He's creepy.  Frankie was ready to go, and I whispered to him not to leave until Kathy and I tabbed out so we wouldn't be left alone with C.G.

I then went over to the waitress and asked her if she could hurry our tabs out, as we didn't want to be left alone with "the creepy guy in the leather jacket."  She looked concerned, and a few seconds later brought me my tab and whispered in my ear that she had notified the manager about the creepy guy and that the doorman would be making sure we got to our cars ok.  Wow.  On the way out, the manager stopped me, asked which guy was the creepy guy (I didn't want him to think Frankie was C.G.) and spoke to the doorman.  Awesome service.  It was nice that they showed such concern for their female patrons.

So, I say, "Go to the Elbow Room.  Good beer.  Fun games.  Concerned waitresses."

* Names have been changed... in case my friends don't want to appear in my blog... cuz some of them are spies, they say...